Tag Archives: Pride of Origins

MALIZA KIASUWA reviewed in The East African

10 Jul

THURSDAY JULY 08 2021

By FRANK WHALLEY

Multimedia collages

Elsewhere, flying the flag abroad for the richness and variety of this region’s art scene is Maliza Kiasuwa with simultaneous exhibitions of her multimedia collages in London, UK and Washington DC.

Dense and allegorical, both explore her own origins woven into an investigation of the wider African experience within the context of post-colonial societies.

Thus in the London show, at the prestigious Sulger-Buel Gallery, are some 16 collages under the general title of Ancestry, while in Washington at Morton Fine Arts the theme is developed with 19 collages and wall hangings, also from her Pride of Origins series.

They give a broader view of the continuing inequalities of exchange between Africa and the West while the artist examines herself and her position as a woman of European and African descent.

With works created in her studio on the shores of Lake Naivasha, both exhibitions include images from the corpus of tribal artefacts from an arc reaching from West Africa (a Senufo mask), through Cameroon and the Western DRC (the white spirit masks of the Shiri-Punu group) taking in the reliquary figures of the Bakota, to the Eastern DRC with the use of a striped Songye mask.

These help to give Kiasuwa’s collages context and being familiar from museums, books and thousands of cheap copies, act too as entry points; touchstones for further consideration of the artworks.

They also echo, perhaps sub-consciously, the artist’s own journey from West to East… born in Bucharest to a Romanian mother and a Congolese father, then moving to Kinshasa and on to Nairobi before settling in Naivasha.

Thus matters of place and identity are close to Kiasuwa’s heart, as is the impact of industrial development forced onto a traditional rural society, considered in her 2019 Yesterday is Today series of soft sculptures shown at the Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi.

By the time you read this, the exhibitions might have been taken down but happily, given their distance, they remain intact for a virtual visit; in London at https://www.sulger-buel-gallery.com/artists/132-maliza-kiasuwa/overview/ and in Washington at https://www.mortonfineart.com/artist/maliza-kiasuwa

Available Artwork by MALIZA KIASUWA